Asian-Pacific Heritage Month: understanding importance of cultures

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Laura L. Lloydowen
  • 90th Medical Operations Squadron
Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate Asian-Pacific culture, and the 90th Missile Wing is celebrating Asian-Pacific Heritage Month with a food sampling May 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fall Hall Community Center. Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month began in 1978 as a weeklong celebration, but was expanded to the entire month in 1990.

The term Asian-Pacific American encompasses many races and cultures - including, but not limited to, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Samoan, Guamanian, and Fijian.

There were two major events in history which spurred Congress into announcing Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. The first was the immigration of the first Japanese to America in May 1843. The second was the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869.

Among the many impacts of Asian-Pacific culture, food is the most widely known. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean restaurants are found all across the states. While many American Chinese buffets aren't authentic, the fact they exist is a testament to how deeply Asian culture has been ingrained into American culture.

With each new culture immigrating to America, a new dish has crossed the ocean as well. Lumpia, a side dish of meat and vegetables steamed or fried inside a pastry-like wrapping, is a traditional Filipino dish and is now enjoyed nationwide. Other dishes such as Mongolian beef and Szechuan chicken have become famous thanks to Chinese influence.